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How We Work 

Our return-to-campus plan relies on us all doing our part to help keep each other healthy. All students, faculty, and staff are expected to report positive COVID-19 test results at 408-554-5100, if the test was administered at an off-campus facility.

In addition to the Prepared SCU plan below, other key resources for working on campus include the following:


Return to Campus Responsibilities Matrix

The SCU Community works together to keep us all healthy and safe.

Return to Campus
Responsibility Matrix

Dept. SupervisorsBuilding Facility ManagersBuilding OccupantsSCU FacilitiesSCU Planning & Projects
Comply with all SCU COVID-19 protection protocols & behaviors*






Implement COVID-19 protection protocols in local areas per Prepared SCU: How We Work plan






Perform enhanced custodial cleaning and disinfecting protocols in building spaces 






Supply disinfecting materials to building Facility Managers 






Distribute disinfecting supplies to local areas and request additional supplies from Facilities 






Maintain building ventilation systems per COVID-19 protection protocols 






Assess and reorganize work and common areas to support & reinforce social distancing 






Establish local area occupancy limits 






Post building and local areas with COVID-19 protocol signage 






Perform frequent daily disinfection of high contact surfaces, shared equipment, meeting and break rooms, workstations, etc. 






*Wear face coverings, practice social distancing, perform daily symptom checks, stay home when sick, practice good hand washing and cough/sneeze hygiene, participate in SCU's COVID-19 testing and tracing program, disinfect work surfaces frequently



Santa Clara University’s return-to-campus plan, Prepared SCU: How We Work, relies on us all doing our part to help keep each other healthy. Our guiding principles are protecting the health and safety of our staff, faculty and students while supporting SCU’s academic mission. The plan applies the guidelines and requirements from the California Department of Public Health, Santa Clara County Public Health Department, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to our diverse campus work environment.

We are grateful for the flexibility and hard work of our staff and faculty. To the extent possible, staff should continue to work remotely unless their job requires their presence on campus or they are unable to work remotely. With safety as our guiding principle, we will begin a phased return to campus that strives to protect all members of our community. At each phase, new populations may get clearance to re-occupy campus and additional campus buildings and work areas may be activated. Unless employees have been previously approved by a vice president or dean to perform an essential task on campus during the shelter-in-place period, they should not return to campus until they have been notified by their respective operating unit and supervisor to do so.

State and county public health orders require us to comply with their provisions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the impact on the delivery of critical healthcare services. SCU has aligned the Prepared SCU: How We Work plan with these requirements as well as those from Centers for Disease Control (CDC), California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) and other recognized authorities. SCU reserves the right to maintain more restrictive provisions than Santa Clara County.

We should plan and be prepared for the possibility that additional public health orders could be enacted at any time should the pandemic worsen. Everyone should be prepared for this potential disruption and a return to further shelter-in-place restrictions.

SCU’s work environment is varied and each of us needs to do our part in protecting each other. Supervisors will be asked to lead the implementation of this plan within their respective work areas but all employees play a role in the safe resumption of campus activities. Our personal behaviors play a major role in mitigating the spread of it as we return to campus.

All faculty, staff and students will be expected to:

  • Complete daily symptom screenings
  • Not come to campus if you are sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms
  • Participate in SCU’s COVID-19 Testing Program and contact-tracing program
  • Wear face coverings at all times on campus—indoors and outdoors
    • Note: face coverings do not eliminate the need to follow social-distancing practices—face coverings and social distancing complement each other
  • Practice social distancing (6-feet minimum) at all times—indoors and outdoors
  • Wash or sanitize hands frequently throughout the day
  • Practice good cough and sneeze hygiene
  • Adhere to SCU's phased campus-return strategy

Further details about these behaviors are outlined in this document. In addition to practicing these behaviors, the return-to-campus environment will include many additional strategies aimed at reducing transmission among our community and promoting a safer workplace. These include:

  • A continued remote-work emphasis to reduce the number of people on campus at any given time
  • Physically altered work spaces to support social distancing
  • Alternating work shifts and other approaches to limit the number of direct interactions among our colleagues
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of work areas
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in an SCU facility
  • Requiring sick employees to stay home
  • Performing daily COVID-19 symptom checks of employees, guests, contractors and vendors entering our work areas
  • Identifying where and how employees might be exposed to COVID-19 within our diverse work environment
  • Implementing Covid-19 Testing onsite 
  • Using quarantine or isolation practices for those who are symptomatic, test positive for COVID-19, or had a close-contact exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19
  • Implementing flexible sick leave and associated policies and practices that enable and encourage employees to self-quarantine or isolate if they are symptomatic, test positive, or have had a close-contact exposure to someone with COVID-19
  • Using signs and postings at campus, building, and local area entrances to communicate COVID-19 protection protocols
  • Planning for possible business interruption due to changes in state and county public health orders, changes in employee availability due to illness, and other workplace or workforce disruptions related to COVID-19
  • Providing resources that support mental health, professional development, and other guidance to support the transition back to campus
  • Educating employees on SCU’s COVID-19 protection protocols

Supervisors and/or unit heads will work with their staff to review departmental operations and determine the most appropriate way to implement the Prepared SCU: How We Work plan in their respective areas. University Operations can assist supervisors and/or unit heads with conducting work area assessments. Updates to SCU's return to campus plans will be communicated via email and website postings.

All SCU employees are expected to comply with the elements outlined in this Prepared SCU: How We Work plan. Training and additional resources for supervisors and employees will be provided to assist with the return-to-campus transition. As public health guidance and requirements change, we will continually update our Prepared SCU: How We Work plan to ensure supervisors and employees have the information and resources to adjust accordingly.


Campus Environment

The campus and work environment will likely feel quite different for most of us from when we were last here. Each of us is asked to be respectful of our colleagues’ health and safety and comply with all efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, washing hands frequently, staying home when sick, reporting illness, etc.

SCU will provide supervisors and/or unit heads with resources to help them implement the Prepared SCU: How We Work plan within their respective work areas.

Supervisors should assess their respective work areas to determine if it requires space modifications or alterations in operations. A variety of methods may be considered to reduce occupant densities at any given time and reduce close-contact exposures. University Operations can provide assistance to building and department leads for assessing their areas.

Examples of approaches that may be implemented include, but are not limited to:

  • Remove, separate or take out service tables, chairs and desks to ensure 6-feet of separation between employees
  • Install “sneeze” guards/barriers at reception and transaction desks where close-contact interactions occur
  • Discourage the use of shared work workstations and equipment where feasible
  • Establish maximum occupancies for open office seating areas, meeting rooms, copy and print areas, break rooms, lobbies, reception areas and other common areas to support social distancing protocols
    • Note: Meeting room capacities will be reduced and signs indicating these reductions will be posted. A continued emphasis on remote meeting, even when on campus, is strongly encouraged.
  • Use of signs and postings to educate people of occupant density restrictions, area COVID-19 protection protocols, etc.
  • Establish single direction entry and exit paths through open office areas, hallways and other common areas
  • Continuing with remote meetings even when on-campus
  • Rotating work schedules and/or staggered shifts to reduce work area densities and minimize in-person interactions to the extent feasible
  • Rotating employee break schedules to maintain physical separation and reduce break room density. Focusing break room use on food storage and preparation rather than as communal eating spaces
  • Restricting visitors and guests into work areas
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of both personal-use and shared-use high-touch surfaces

Per state and Santa Clara County public health directives, all faculty, staff and student workers are required to be educated on the Prepared SCU: How We Work plan. SCU will provide educational materials for the campus. Topics all employees are required to be educated on include: information on COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread, testing and contact tracing, quarantine and isolation, self-screening and symptom checking, the use of face coverings, hand washing, cleaning and disinfection, social distancing practices, etc.

By completing this training, faculty, staff and student workers are acknowledging they will abide by the Prepared SCU: How We Work plan protocols. Failure to comply with campus COVID-19 protection protocols could result in disciplinary action.

SCU Facilities implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols (using EPA approved products for COVID-19) when the pandemic began and will continue to do so for its duration.

It is not possible, however, for SCU Facilities to clean and disinfect all areas immediately after occupancy; therefore all employees play a role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, and following proper cough and sneeze hygiene. To supplement the enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols conducted by Facilities, employees will be expected to frequently disinfect work and break areas throughout the day using supplies provided by Facilities.

Departments may choose cleaning supplies for their personal work areas, in addition to the disinfecting materials provided by Facilities, but they should ensure they are approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19 and they should seek SCU EHS Department approval by contacting Sean Collins at

Frequent local cleaning efforts in the work area should be conducted post-use on high-touch contact surfaces such as door knobs, light switches, copiers, keyboards, mice, staplers, reception surfaces, meeting room tables, break room appliances and tables, etc. Employees should clean their workstations frequently and between each shift if using shared workstations.

Buildings in which a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified will be closed for thorough cleaning and disinfection by Facilities which may take multiple days. In general, areas that have been unoccupied for one week or more (7 days) do not require disinfection and enhanced cleaning alone is sufficient. These unplanned building closures will cause business interruption. All departments should prepare for the possibility of temporary building closures and prepare for this potential disruption.

When passing in hallways, be respectful of those walking towards you. Provide wide berths when passing others. Avoid lingering in lobbies, hallways, and other similar spaces. Some buildings may have designated entry and exit routes and directional arrows indicating paths of travel.

When entering a restroom, be aware of other occupants and determine whether you should wait outside to allow for social distancing. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before leaving the restroom. Dispose of paper towels in trash/compost receptacles.

Most elevators on campus will have reduced occupancies posted at their entrance. In many buildings, one to two people per elevator will be the maximum occupancy.

Close gatherings within 6-feet of separation should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Restrict available seating in lobbies and lounges to reinforce social distancing. Remove pens, magazines, newspapers, and other commonly touched materials in lobbies and waiting areas.

On-campus food service will emphasize to-go only. Look for food and beverage use guidance signage at food service locations. The emphasis on break room use should be for food storage and preparation, not communal dining. Employees are encouraged to eat at their desk or outside where possible.

Break room occupancies may be limited to ensure social distancing practices are followed. University Operations can assist supervisors and/or unit heads in determining the maximum occupancies for break rooms. Occupancy limits should be posted at each room.

Frequent cleaning of break room high-touch surfaces should be performed by building occupants post-use, including refrigerator handles, microwaves, water-bottle filling stations, coffee makers, tables and counters, etc.

Meetings should be conducted remotely even when on campus. Zoom or other technology should be used whenever practical and reasonable. It is likely that our colleagues will continue working from a variety of on-campus and remote locations so please take this into consideration.

When in-person meetings are necessary because meeting remotely is not feasible, at least 6-feet separation is required. This will likely decrease the number of people that can gather in a meeting space and meeting areas will have posted occupancy limits. University Operations can assist supervisors and/or unit heads in determining maximum occupancies for meeting rooms.Masks are required during all in-person meetings, even for those who have been vaccinated. Updates to all of these requirements are always on Prepared SCU.

Social distancing is required in all outdoor settings. Outdoor chairs and seating areas have been reconfigured to promote social distancing. Masks are required even when outdoors.

Refrain from having guests on campus unless absolutely necessary. When they are necessary to be on campus, guests, contractors, and vendors must comply with all applicable SCU COVID-19 protection protocols. The SCU hosts of guests, contractors, and vendors are responsible for ensuring they are aware of, and adhere to, our COVID-19 protection protocols. Guests, contractors, and vendors are required to wear face coverings, complete the daily symptom check before entering the work area and follow any other posted building and local area protocols. Supervisors should ensure a process is established for accommodating non-SCU personnel into their areas.

Campus entrance, building entrance, and local area signs and postings are an important component of educating people about SCU's COVID-19 protection protocols. Adhere to all posted requirements in any given area. SCU will provide supervisors and/or unit heads with various signage templates they can use in their respective work areas as well.


Health Monitoring

Early identification of cases and their close contacts is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 to SCU and the surrounding community. As required by state and Santa Clara County public health directives, SCU is implementing a strategy for conducting COVID-19 symptom checks, on-site COVID-19 testing, and contact-tracing for faculty, staff, and students aimed at identifying early cases and quarantining close contacts. Employees are expected to participate in SCU’s COVID-19 symptom checking, testing, and tracing programs.

All employees entering the workplace must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at the start of their shift. It is preferred that employees perform their symptom check prior to coming to campus rather than upon arrival to campus. SCU is developing a symptom screening process that employees will use to report their symptom checks. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that SCU's symptom screening process is being adhered to by their employees.

The requirement for symptom checks applies to guests, contractors, and vendors as well. SCU personnel hosting these individuals are responsible for ensuring symptom checks are completed.

Symptoms employees are required to monitor for, per the Centers for Disease Control, include the following: 

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
  • New loss of taste or smell 

Download “Mobile SCU” in the App Store. Daily Symptom Check and Covid-19 Saliva Test Registration are available as quick links above.  Daily Symptom Check is also available on the Prepared SCU Website.

If you experience COVID-19 symptoms notify your supervisor and remain home. If you are already on campus, please go home. Per Santa Clara County public health directives, you must be tested and self-isolate at home until the results of the test are available.

If you test negative for COVID-19, you may discontinue isolation and return to work when symptoms have resolved.

If you test positive for COVID-19 you must remain at home and self-isolate. Contact your supervisor and HR ( and call 408-554-5100 to report the positive case Contact tracing will be implemented by SCU’s CICT Team. 


  • If you Test Positive for COVID-19, you must remain home and self-isolate.


      • Notify your supervisor and report any off campus provider positive test results to 408-554-5100 immediately. A positive test must be reported immediately, regardless of if you were on campus within 48 hours or not.
      • Contact Tracing will be implemented by SCU CICT and/or the local public health department.


  • Returning to Campus after Testing Positive


    • If you had symptoms, you are allowed to return to campus after:
      • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
      • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
      • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving
    • If you did not have symptoms, you are allowed to return to campus after:
      • 10 days since the date you were tested, as long as no symptoms develop during those 10 days
        • If symptoms do develop, follow the guidance in the previous section 
    • Note that a negative test is NOT required to return to campus after completing isolation due to your positive test result.

If you have had close contact with a person known to have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, per Santa Clara County public health directive, you must be tested.

Notify your supervisor and HR ( 

  • SCU's Case Investigation and Contract Tracing team (CICT) also considers anyone who spends 90 cumulative minutes over the course of a day in the same indoor space as a positive person to be a close contact. This could be 90 minutes straight or several shorter periods of time throughout the day that add up to 90 minutes. People identified as a close contact using this definition will be contacted by SCU's CICT team and provided appropriate guidance.  
  • Regardless of the test result, you must quarantine at home for 10 days since the exposure, based on the time it takes to develop illness. 
  • Monitor your symptoms, and contact your physician if symptoms present. 
    • If you test positive, follow the guidance provided by the CICT Tracing team.
    • If you test negative, you must still quarantine because the virus may not present immediately.
  • If you continue to be in close contact with someone who is Covid-19 positive while they are in isolation,   you will need to extend your quarantine until 10 days from the day the positive person finishes isolating. This may last about 20 days. 

Supervisors and/or unit heads should prepare for the potential workforce interruptions that may result from quarantine and isolation of their employees.

Face coverings are intended to prevent the spread of large droplets that are expelled when we breathe, talk, sneeze, or cough. When you cough or sneeze, even with a mask on, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or cough/sneeze into the inside of your elbow. Wash your hands immediately with soap and water or hand sanitizer.


Personal Protective Equipment and Hygiene

Because COVID-19 is primarily spread from person to person, through respiratory droplets generated from breathing, talking, coughing and sneezing, and many people transmit the virus when they are symptom-free, the use of face coverings is critical in mitigating the spread of it. The use of face coverings that effectively cover the nose and mouth are required at all times while on campus, including when you are indoors or outdoors. Supervisors and/or unit heads are expected to help reinforce this expectation and lead by example.

Because the use of face coverings is required in Santa Clara County, we ask that employees provide their own face coverings unless you work in a position that dictates the use of a surgical or N95 mask, in which case SCU will provide these.

Use face coverings even after you are vaccinated. 

SCU requires that all Faculty, Staff and Students continue to wear a face covering, even if vaccinated to protect yourself and others. If an employee is unable to wear a face covering due to a pre-existing medical condition (certified by a medical professional), employees and supervisors should contact Indu Ahluwalia at to request an accommodation.

Guidelines for wearing face coverings include:

  • Always wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off
  • Use a good quality mask. Improved mask types have become available which protect you and others.
  • Do not touch your mouth, nose, or eyes when putting it on or taking it off
  • Ensure it fits over the nose and under the chin (to cover the mouth)
  • Store your mask in a clean area when not in use
  • Face coverings are required, even after vaccination for COVID-19.

Social distancing is a critical tool in mitigating the spread of the virus. We know that the virus can be transmitted by people showing no obvious symptoms (asymptomatic). This means a minimum of 6-feet of separation must be maintained at all times - whether indoors or outdoors, working in an office or laboratory, during meetings or conversing with others, teaching in classrooms and other academic spaces, meeting with students, etc. Six feet is the minimum separation distance for in-person contact, even when wearing face coverings. Social distancing does not replace the need to wear a face covering—they must be done in tandem.

Frequent hand washing is an important protective measure against COVID-19. Washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the preferred method of hand cleaning. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day—when you arrive to work, before you leave work, before and after eating, after coughing or sneezing, etc.

If you do not have access to soap and water, the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an acceptable alternative. Hand sanitizers should contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective. SCU has positioned hand-sanitizing stations throughout our more heavily trafficked areas and employees are encouraged to carry their own hand sanitizer with them for use during the day.

Gloves are not necessary for general employee use according to the Centers for Disease Control. SCU will provide gloves to those personnel with an identified need. If you wish to wear gloves when on campus, please provide your own and dispose of them when finished. Wearing gloves does not eliminate the need to wash your hands even when gloves are on. Do not leave used gloves at your workstation or in other areas—dispose of them after use. Washing your hands with soap and water is the best practice for cleaning your hands.


Human Resources

As SCU continues to monitor this pandemic, employment guidelines may be temporarily modified to address business needs and to promote the health and safety of the campus community. Please consult with your supervisor and/or HR Partner if you have specific questions.

The return-to-campus strategy continues to evolve for most employees. COVID-19 vaccinations for educators, (i.e. faculty, staff and student campus employees) were authorized in February 2021. SCU strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination.  Remote work continues to be an important tool to help minimize the number of people on campus at any given time. Supervisors and/or unit heads should not plan to re-populate their respective work areas on campus until they have been notified to do so by their respective dean or member of the President’s Cabinet.

Each department of the University establishes the normal work days and work shifts for their positions based on business needs. Supervisors and/or unit heads are expected to be flexible and creative in scheduling the workday during this time to promote less frequent person-to-person interactions while being sensitive to their employee’s personal situations.

Employees who have been approved to work remotely may borrow their existing SCU ergonomic office equipment to assist with remote work, with approval from their supervisor before removing it. Examples could include chairs, computer monitors, ergonomic keyboards and mice, headsets, and monitor risers, etc. Employees must return all equipment to their campus work location when their remote work arrangement ends. Coordination of campus visits to remove office equipment should occur between employees and their supervisors. This is usually done in a “grab and go” process. To retrieve items from campus,  COVID-19 testing is not required, but you must complete the daily symptom check, follow all on site protocols, and only grab and go. Do not stay on campus for other conversations, meetings or lunch. Campus access is limited.

Questions regarding home office ergonomic issues can also be addressed to Sean Collins in the EHS Department at

Employees who are at higher risk (certified by a medical professional) for severe illness from COVID-19 or who require accommodations which may affect their ability to work on campus, may have questions/concerns about returning. Supervisors and/or unit heads are expected to work with their employees and HR to address these cases. Please contact Indu Ahluwalia at for more information.

If an employee is unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), the employee can file a Paid Family Leave claim form. Please contact Indu Ahluwalia at

If an employee is unable to work due to having COVID-19 or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), the employee may be eligible to receive short-term disability benefits. Please contact Indu Ahluwalia at for more information on short-term disability benefits.

SCU HR will provide additional information shortly that has additional guidance for staff and supervisors.

We acknowledge the magnitude of change everyone is dealing with as we navigate these uncertain times. For support and information, please visit the Tips for Managing Remote Workers. Supervisors may also contact their HR Partner for consultation.

Supervisors and/or unit heads play a lead role in ensuring the Prepared SCU: How We Work plan practices and procedures are implemented in their respective areas. SCU will provide guidance and resources to assist supervisors and/or unit heads with implementing COVID-19 protection protocols in their respective work area.

It is possible that even as we plan to return to campus for the Fall of 2021, the pandemic could worsen again to the extent that additional shelter-in-place orders are enacted by federal, state or county authorities or SCU. Supervisors should plan for this possibility and the interruption to business operations resulting from this, as well as the possibility of extended employee absences due to illness or quarantine.

There are several SCU COVID-19 FAQ websites intended to provide updates and information to the community. These do not replace the individual support you can receive from SCU’s Department of Human Resources. Should you have specific questions or concerns regarding employment, benefits, leaves, or other available resources please do not hesitate to contact your HR Partner for assistance.

The Department of Human Resources is committed to providing assistance and resources to our valued employees. To that end, we have collected a wealth of information and resources to assist our employees during these challenging times. We will continue to monitor the situation and related resources and update the COVID-19 HR Resources site frequently.

These resources have been collected from various sources including our benefits vendors, other higher education institutions, the HR community and our own SCU colleagues. These sources are meant to provide helpful information, resources, and tips to support us all through these uncertain times.

Should you need technology support while working remotely, resources can be found here or you may contact the IT Help Desk at (408) 554-5700 for assistance.



The information provided is based on current information regarding best practices, guidance and requirements from federal, state and local health agencies and other recognized authorities.